By Morven McIntyre
Glasgow City Council are signing up to the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities Ending the AIDS Epidemic. This initiative will provide Glasgow with a local platform to build upon existing HIV programs and resources which aim to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Councillor Mhairi Hunter, City Convener for Health and Social Care Integration, chair of this initiative, said: “Joining the Fast Track Cities initiative allows us the opportunity to not only prevent the increase of in HIV drug users in Glasgow but to stop preventable deaths from HIV-related causes from occurring.”
Glasgow will aim to meet the UN’s targets: to have 90% of people with HIV know their status; to have 90% of people with HIV on treatment and to have 90% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.
Glasgow currently meets the latter targets yet Councillor Hunter said: “While Glasgow’s figures are encouraging we can’t be complacent. Supporting individuals with HIV and reaching those identified as being more at risk of contracting the disease in the first place in one of the many ways we aim to end new HIV infections by 2030.”
Key partner organisations and representatives in the community will be established in order to fulfill these goals.
The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) will also be working to meet these targets. Health Board Chairman John Brown said: “HIV continues to affect communities across Scotland, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde where 88 people were newly diagnosed last year, so we are all proud to support this global initiative which sees Glasgow joining the Fast Track Cities.”
Chairman of Waverly Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity, Grant Sugden commented on the initiative: “I think what it does do is give civic leadership to the fight against HIV in Glasgow. It’s going to bring a whole range of organisations including ourselves together to work to end new cases of HIV in Glasgow by 2030.”
“I think it’s ambitious, but I think it’s achievable. We know that treatment works. We know that regular testing makes a huge difference, but we also know that there is so much more still to do. I think signing up to Fast Track cities actually helps to give HIV more profile. I think it can’t do anything but improve all the work we’re doing to tackle HIV.”